Message from the Minister and
It is my pleasure to deliver the service plan for the Ministry of Community Services. This service plan provides me with the opportunity to articulate the goals and actions that the ministry will be undertaking to achieve our vision that “British Columbia’s communities are great places in which to live,” and that support the Government of British Columbia’s Five Great Goals.
Our mandate is to promote sustainable and liveable communities that provide healthy and safe places for British Columbians. We are proud of our successes to date. British Columbia’s implementation of the Community Charter has created the most enabling framework for local governments in Canada. The Vancouver Agreement, renewed in 2005, brings forward socio-economic benefits for some of the most vulnerable residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The ministry’s work in this area has led to increased collaboration with the federal government, across provincial ministries and agencies, and with local governments. There are a number of cities that have expressed interest in the Urban Development Agreement process and we look forward to working with them this year.
We are working with the Union of BC Municipalities to implement the New Deal for Cities and Communities gas tax transfer program, a $635 million (over 5 years) federally-funded program which supports a range of environmental objectives. This past year we increased funding for domestic violence prevention and intervention services for women and their children by $12.5 million, the most significant increase in over a decade. The Ministry of Community Services also provides secretariat support to the Premier’s Council on Aging and Seniors’ Issues, whose mandate is to examine two key issues: how to support seniors’ ability to continue as contributing members of society, and how to support seniors’ independence and health. I look forward to receiving the recommendations the council will make to government in late 2006.
This service plan reflects an increased emphasis on improving regional governance and enhancing municipal cooperation. Working with, and across, government ministries we will promote and foster effective linkages and working relationships to ensure that seniors’ and women’s issues are highlighted and considered in public policy and program design. I am committed to encouraging women to enter some of the less traditional fields of employment, such as trades and the construction industry, through our mentoring program.
The Ministry of Community Services 2006/07–2008/09 Service Plan was prepared under my direction in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. I am accountable for the basis on which the Plan has been prepared. All material fiscal assumptions and policy decisions as of February 14, 2006, have been considered in preparing the service plan and I am accountable for achieving the specific objectives in the plan.
Honourable Ida Chong
Minister of Community Services and
Minister Responsible for Seniors’ and Women’s Issues
February 21, 2006